55+ Free February Webinars for Library Staff

Jennifer Peterson /

With this year being a Leap Year, February provides one extra day for library learning, but it's still a short month, so don't miss out on these online opportunities made available for free. This list, provided by Jamie Markus at the Wyoming State Library, comes out every month and is regularly updated on the Free Training page, where you can also view the offerings by topic. This month's list covers 55 different webinars in 18 different topic areas, from advocacy to volunteers, and includes the always popular day-long online conference, Big Talk From Small Libraries, hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission, in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

For additional training, check out the WebJunction Catalog, free and open to library staff and volunteers everywhere.

Read on for 55 great free webinars AND an online conference being offered for library staff and non-profits in the month of Februrary.

February 1

Researching 101 (TL Virtual Cafe)
Introduce Your Students to the Basics of Research & Information Literacy. The TL Virtual Cafe is committed to creating conversations about teacher-librarians, educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful and lifelong learning skills.

February 2

Creating a Mobile Makerspace program (Washington State Library)
North Central Regional Library (NCRL) developed its Mobile Makerspace program out of a desire to engage teen patrons with educational programming. To serve patrons in 30 branches across 5 counties, the program needed to be able to travel and operate with a limited number of employees. Join Luke as he describes the STEM/STEAM tools acquired and NCRL's makerspace-style approach. More importantly, he will identify the pitfalls and what NCRL is doing today.

Social Media and Volunteer Engagement (VolunteerMatch.org)
Volunteer engagement is changing. What do you need to know about social media as a volunteer program manager? How can you use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers? This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You'll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that other nonprofits have successfully used to draw attention to their organizations and volunteer opportunities. You'll also learn about the social media tools available as part of your VolunteerMatch account that can help you promote your volunteer opportunity on other social networking sites.

Responding To Challenges -- Ensure Your Library Is Prepared (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
Has a book been challenged in your library? How should your library respond if someone challenges one of your books on social media? This 1.5 hour webinar will leave you better prepared to respond to challenges. We’ll explore policies that can protect the library, and hear from libraries that have had materials challenged recently. We’ll also allow time for questions.

Explore and Discover: Nature-Based Spaces and Activities at your Library (WebJunction)
Learn about best practices and resources that you can use at your library to create outdoor spaces, along with indoor and outdoor nature activities. It's a unique way to connect literacy, learning and appreciation for nature as a regular part of the library visit.

Emerging Tech Trends in Libraries - Part 2 (Infopeople)
As part of the Emerging Tech Trends series, this webinar introduces emerging technology trends and tipping points, and how these emerging trends are re-shaping library services. Some of the topics that will be covered include: wearable technology, mobile technology, social media, photos and videos, grassroots technology, the cloud, and the internet of things.

February 3

Teaching Digital Literacy with TechBoomers.com and Other Online Resources (Nebraska Library Commission)
A big part of the TechBoomers.com mission is to empower libraries and other technology training organizations by offering our free video and article tutorials to help them teach digital literacy. Libraries of all sizes find our educational content to be a great asset to build their programs around, as it saves them the time and effort of preparing training materials for websites that are constantly changing. TechBoomers.com can also be a valuable tool to encourage students to continue learning at home on their own time. To help spread the word about this, TechBoomers.com has teamed up with the Nebraska Library Commission to run a webinar that will explain all the ways libraries can leverage free resource websites like TechBoomers.com to help them teach digital literacy.

Preparing Your Organization for Millennial Leaders (American Management Association)
In the next 5 years, 20 million baby boomers will retire, leaving organizations with leadership positions to be filled. In 2015, millennials eclipsed boomers in the American workforce, yet most organizations haven't adapted to their needs and will struggle to fill this leadership gap.

Now in 2016, over a fourth of Millennials are in leadership positions and new challenges have surfaced.

This presentation will review these challenges, while helping you solve them through new research, case studies, and strategies.

No-Cost Success Strategies (American Library Association, LLAMA)
Drawing from more than 40 years of experience as the director of three award-winning public libraries, including 17 years as Executive Director of the Westport, CT, Library, Maxine Bleiweis will share her innovative ideas and approaches for keeping libraries relevant and ahead of the curve. With her leadership, the Westport Library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world, leading Bruce Kasanoff to write in Forbes.com: “There are two ways to run a public library….the traditional way or the Maxine Bleiweis way.” Her work has earned numerous awards including: Connecticut Library Association’s Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award (2011) and Public Library Association’s Charles Robinson Award for Innovative Leadership (2015).

Excel for Grant Writers (4Good)
Spreadsheets are valuable and affordable tools that are accessible to any grant proposal writer. Yet, some writers groan at the thought of using Excel or similar programs to work with numbers and other data.If you are such a grant writer, this webinar will provide a concise introduction (or re-introduction!) to spreadsheets and how to use them to create stronger grant proposals.

Five Tips to Bring Your Organization's Story to Life Using Silk (TechSoup)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How well are you telling your story and showing your impact? Silk.co, a free tool for nonprofits, can help with that. Silk can turn data in spreadsheets into websites, interactive charts and data visualizations, impact maps, a story canvas, or a contact database! Without using any code or requiring any tech skills.

The Networking Game (Siera)
The Networking Game is the art of discovering patterns in the world and making useful connections for ourselves and for others. It is about weaving new options into our safety nets. Networks are based on the interests each individual pursues; in fact, we like to think of people as explorers with many kinds of quests. The rules of networking keep us on track.

Introduction to Fundraising Planning (GrantSpace)
Does your organization need help directing its fundraising efforts? Planning focuses your organization by setting fundraising priorities and helps give staff and board members a roadmap to success. This introductory class will provide you the basic steps for developing a fundraising plan, including tips on: making your case for support; diversifying your organization’s fundraising base; creating a plan of action. Start thinking about your organization’s fundraising strategies! Prior attendance at Introduction to Finding Grants is strongly recommended.

Exploring the Engineering is Elementary Website to Enhance Your Engineering Curriculum (American Association of School Librarians)
In this session, presenter Nicole O’Neil will introduce participants to the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum, the nation’s leading engineering curriculum for grades 1-5 which supports educators and children in developing engineering literacy. Participants will also explore the EiE website full of educator resources for classroom instruction, including a video library, free downloadable out-of-school time engineering curriculum, instructional apps, alignment to content standards, and much more!

February 4

Managing Difficult Volunteer Transitions (VolunteerMatch.org)
What do you do when it's time to ask a volunteer to leave your organization? This webinar will give you the tools to address challenges around difficult volunteers, volunteers aging in place, and suggestions to minimize these situations in the future. Suggestions for determining when a volunteer should be terminated, and making it easier on you, other volunteers, and staff will be presented. The role that risk management plays in these decisions will also be included.

February 5

People - Difficult or Different (Effectiveness Institute)
Why are some clients or co-workers so frustrating to work with?  Or more importantly, why would anyone think of YOU as a difficult person?

For example, isn’t it irritating when the person across the desk or on the phone can’t seem to ever make a decision… or makes a snap decision only to change it a day later?In this highly interactive and engaging presentation, you will discover why “different” does not have to mean “difficult.”  Then you will learn the magic of making slight adjustments in your awareness and behavior that will have a significant impact on your ability to “click” with customers and co-workers. Length:  45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A

February 9

Provoking Leadership vs Faking It (Training Magazine Network)
How much time do you fake leadership? How much time do you actually spend leading? Is your investment appropriate or lacking? We must prioritize the time and energy to make the team feel like a family, with shared values but differences that create 'a whole brain'. Everyone eating at their desk alone is not driving trust and teamwork. Things like celebrating birthdays, project success or here in Indy, an afternoon at the Indy 500 practice have long been eliminated to focus on real work. Leadership is real work. 'Not leading' is faking it. In this session, you will re-visit the beliefs you have about practicing leadership, and learn how to build a leadership process rather than a leadership event.

Writing Accurate and Useful Volunteer Position Descriptions (VolunteerMatch.org)
A good position description can make the recruitment and placement of volunteers so much easier, but this foundation component of a program is often overlooked or put into a folder and never used. This webinar will start with the basics of what should be included in a position description and will help you create or update position descriptions for all of your volunteer opportunities.

We(eding) the People Off Google – Using Government Information and Local Resources for Small Business Research (Federal Depository Library Progam)
Information literacy instruction for small business entrepreneurs is usually provided by public libraries. However, at the University of South Carolina Aiken, the Government Information Librarian and the Instruction Librarian, partnered with the local Small Business Development Center to train local small business entrepreneurs how to access information from free, locally available resources. This webinar will discuss how the partnership was established, developing the content of the workshop, which resources participants found most helpful, lessons we learned from the experience, and how other librarians can use what we have learned to provide information to small business entrepreneurs in their own communities.

Building an E-book Collection (Infopeople)
At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will: Understand the various e-book leasing and purchasing models used by large and small publishers; Be able to identify the major e-book vendors that work with public libraries; Know strategies for stretching their libraries budget to build a comprehensive and cost-effective e-book collection; Know best practices for e-books and e-book collection development and how it varies from traditional collection development. This webinar will be of interest to library staff and administrators involved in collection development and readers' advisory.

All About Google (Utah State Library)
Learn all about Google's cloud based service for document creation and collaboration including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and forms.  We will also show how Google ties into the Gale Resource Library. Presented by UEN.

February 10

Bridging the Birth to 3rd Grade Workforce: Early Care and Education at the Crossroads of Transformation (Early Childhood Investigations)
Who is an early childhood professional? What entity should decide individual and institutional certification? Who owns the profession? This session, presented by Dr. Jaqueline Jones, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning in the US Department of Education, and now CEO of the Foundation for Child Development, will focus on the current status of the early care and education workforce across the birth to 3rd grade continuum and the challenges the field faces to develop a unified system of professional preparation and ongoing professional learning.

Webinar: Podcasts and Information Professionals (Special Libraries Association)
Podcasts have become more heavily-used media in our society, and are becoming a stronger resource for professionals across the board. The past few years have seen the medium move from hobbies and entertainment to a platform for discussion of cutting-edge medical education and presidential interviews. Join us to discuss podcasts as a new frontier for information professionals and users. We will discuss the search and discovery of podcasts, listening, promoting, and organizing, but NOT producing them. Content will appeal to any information professional because podcasts are available in the vast majority of topics. Our discussion will also touch on podcasts that are perfect for professional development in libraries.

New Spring Nonfiction for the Library, Classroom and Home (School Library Journal)
With the elevated emphasis of higher learning standards, providing patrons with informative, high-quality (and highly appealing) nonfiction is more vital than ever. Outstanding nonfiction is key to meeting the needs of all readers, from the very youngest library users to high school students. These new materials allow educators to support higher learning standards, bolster curricula, and entice reluctant readers. Public library programming also often begins with a fresh, engaging nonfiction title. Join us on February 10th for this can’t-miss webcast.

February 11

Build Staff Buy-In for Volunteer Engagement (VolunteerMatch.org)
Is your organization open to engaging volunteers in new ways? Often one of the biggest challenges to a new model of volunteer engagement is the resistance of paid staff. Often attitudes and fears of our co-workers prevent us from expanding the work that volunteers do. But, if you've never worked with volunteers before, it can be scary. In this webinar we'll discuss strategies for working with paid staff to engage volunteers. We'll cover what you can do to alleviate some of those fears, strategies for working within a Union environment, and how you can train and support your coworkers as they become responsible for managing volunteers.

Introducing RDA: Resource Description and Access (American Libraries Live)
As more libraries around the world adopt RDA: Resource Description and Access, knowledge of this new standard is a crucial skill. RDA has tremendous potential for helping the library world move into the digital world, on the flip side, it is a major anxiety point for catalogers who aren’t sure what they need to learn to get started with this new standard. In this episode, our expert panel will discuss how RDA is different from MARC, how librarians can get started with RDA, and they will also share their own experiences.

Books Build Better Brains: How Promoting Literacy Is Key to Early Brain & Child Development (Demco)
The first thousand days of a child’s life are of critical importance, and human relationships and interactions play a key role during this time period. Learn from Dr. Navsaria, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, about the importance of early literacy, key concepts about literacy development, and how toxic stress and early adversity can lead to lifelong issues. You’ll also hear about the structure and concept behind the Reach Out and Read program, which provides early literacy promotion, as well as how libraries can become crucial partners in promoting and developing early literacy skills and helping to offset the effects of adversity.

2016 Knight News Challenge on Libraries (WebJunction)
An initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight News Challenge on Libraries launches on February 24, 2016, and offers applicants a share of more than $3 million for ideas centered on libraries as they transform to accommodate the evolving needs of our communities. Please join us to explore the future of libraries and discuss potential ideas for the News Challenge as we have a discussion on emerging trends in the library space, answer any questions you may have about applying, and share how you can contribute to the challenge.

Why Books Are Still A Good Library Brand (Library Journal)
You’ll hear from library directors or assistant directors nationwide about how they support books as a library brand in the face of other important library missions and what exciting programs or initiatives their libraries may be undertaking to support books as a brand. They’ll also share highlights about some of the challenges and their possible solutions for supporting their pro-book approach.

February 16

12 Things: New Directions for Collections Revisited (Montana State Library)
At last year’s Fall Workshops many librarians learned about and shared experiences of the changing collection development landscape, including contemporary trends such as patron-driven acquisition, floating collections, digital collections and local content, altered library spaces, changes in technical services, the Library of Things, the community as the collection, and much more.  Please join us for the short version – 12 trends that you’ll want to keep in mind as you plan your collection future.

Engaged Planning (University of Wisconsin-Madison SLIS)
How can you make your library the heart of the community? To survive and thrive in the current political and fiscal climate, libraries must reflect their communities’ needs and wants. Learn the basics of turning outward in order to reflect the aspirations of your community as you plan for your library's future.

Privacy, Society and the Internet of Things (O’Reilly)
This webcast will explore how the Internet of Things implicates privacy and, by extension, what it means for society. Listeners will take away: a sense of what is meant by the 'Internet of Things,' which does not have an agreed-upon definition; a better sense of the nature of 'privacy' in a modern context; an exploration of historical privacy concerns leading to an understanding of what is different today; a broad discussion of how society, regulation and technology interrelate and interact.

The National Agricultural Library: Agricultural Information for the 21st Century (Federal Depository Library Program)
This webinar describes the history and customers of the NAL. It will include an in-depth description of NAL’s current services, information products, and tools. Participants will learn about the information resources and tools freely available to them via the web. These include the PubAG repository of agricultural research articles, the AGRICOLA periodical index, the specialty Information Centers, and information tools such as the NAL thesaurus.

February 17

Major Gift Breakthrough Training (4Good)
Are you ready for a breakthrough in Major Gift fundraising? We will take a deep dive into Major Gift best practices - focusing on the first steps for getting you organized for this important work. You will learn how to use essential tools such as prospect management databases, gift tables, and detailed metrics for annual outreach, which make-up a conceptual framework that you and your team need for success. We’ll also answer your questions and provide hands-on training for putting essential systems in place.

Introduction to Proposal Writing (GrantSpace)
Are you new to proposal writing or want a quick refresher? If so, you don’t want to miss one of our most popular classes! This class will provide you with an overview of how to write a standard project proposal to a foundation.  It will include the basic elements of a proposal; the “do’s” and “don’ts” of writing and submitting a proposal; how to follow up whether the answer is yes or no.

Getting Started with Digitization: An Introduction for Libraries (TechSoup for Libraries)
Do you have special collections that need to be digitized? Digitization projects can be a big undertaking, but the key to success is in the planning process. Libraries must consider content selection, scanning processes, copyright, and making content available for public use. In this webinar, collaborators from the Digital Public Library of America's Public Library Partnerships Project will help participants think through the digitization of their archives. Using a free, online curriculum developed as part of the project, they will share tips and ideas to consider when planning the who, what, when, where, how, and why of a digital project. They will also discuss feedback from the beginners who have been through their training program.

Using Technology to Engage the Reluctant Reader (ISTE & School Library Journal)
Now, more than ever, school librarians are leading creative technology use in K–12, from maker activities and robotics to mobile devices. In this free, resource-rich presentation, you’ll learn how to use online tools to instill a love of literature in new and reluctant readers. From virtual book clubs to the creative use of Instagram and Pinterest, this program will show how students can find the right book, share it with their peers, and expand their writing skills.

PNR Rendezvous: How Patients Use Social Media (National Network of Libraries of Medicine)
This free webinar will feature Sally James, a health reporter who is part of the Healthnewsreview.org team to tell us more about the use of social media by patients.

Curation, Revisited: Aggregating Resources in 2016 (edWeb)
Information enthusiasts have been talking about how to best curate resources for some time, but the tools for curation keep changing. While commercial products, come, go, and/or are swallowed up by larger companies, edtech and digital content providers are developing an increasing number of tools for learners of all ages to store and retrieve collected resources. Some of these solutions address libraries’ “container problem” – how to provide access to a collection in its entirety in a user-friendly delivery system. Some provide educators portals for warehousing instructional materials. Others address students’ curation needs. In this session, the presenter will share an array of curation solutions, their strengths and limitations, and strategies to morph tools and create workarounds where services still need work. This webinar will benefit grades 3-12 school librarians, classroom teachers, curriculum leaders, and public librarians.

Documenting Learning with Seesaw Digital Portfolios (AASL)
In this webinar, we'll talk with librarian Kristie Obrecht and Seesaw's Emily Voigtlander about building digital portfolios using Seesaw. Seesaw empowers students of any age to independently document what they are learning at school. Students capture learning with photos and videos of physical work, or by adding digital creations. Everything is uploaded and kept organized for teachers. Teachers can invite families to Seesaw so parents get an immediate, personalized window into their child's learning.

February 18

STEM-ing Out (Indiana State Library)
In this webinar, leaders of both in-school and out-of-school STEM education groups in Indiana will describe how their organizations are addressing the STEM skills problem.  Then they will highlight some ways libraries can become engaged with community schools, businesses and organizations to advance opportunities for all Hoosier students.

Strategies for Cross-Channel Marketing (idealware)
In nonprofit marketing, theory often runs up against reality—we know we need to reach out across all our different channels in a harmonious (and efficient) way, but the day-to-day scramble often means we lose sight of the big picture. Idealware partnered with our friends at TechImpact to bring you this panel of nonprofit marketing experts, who will discuss the challenges nonprofits face and offer their perspectives on how you can more effectively communicate across all your many channels.

Authenticity of Information in GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) (Federal Depository Library Program)
As a trusted source for Federal Government information, verifying the authenticity of electronic documents is very important to GPO. In this webinar, we will specifically discuss the tools and mechanisms GPO provides to verify authenticity and communicate content integrity through GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).

February 19

Wearables (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
Technology is pervasive. It has even become part of our daily apparel. Your shirt can sense the presence of another of its kind. Your watch can track your vital signs. Your shoes can keep track of your pace. Your undergarments can track your heart rate. In this episode of Tech Trends with Tine, Tine Walczyk, independent library technology consultant with Trainers-R-Us, will expand your knowledge of smart accessories.

February 23

Altmetrics: An introduction to alternative metrics (University of Wisconsin-Madison SLIS)
Altmetrics, or alternative metrics, are forging a new way to capture the attention of not only articles, but also scholarly or research ‘‘products’’ by tracking them when they are mentioned online, such as in blogs or social media platforms. While altmetrics have a lot of potential, there are also some limitations preventing their full acceptance alongside traditional citation metrics. In the presentation, we will review the basics of altmetrics and altmetric tools, discuss some possible concerns with this new metric, and explore various applications in libraries.

Database of the Month: GoWYLD.net resources for Kids (K-8) (Wyoming State Library)
In this webinar we will explore National Geographic Kids, Explora Primary, Kids InfoBits, Britannica, and Bookflix.

What’s New in Women’s Fiction (Booklist)
Whether it’s fun and fluffy chick lit or a tense and soapy “issue-driven” novel, women’s fiction is likely to be a favorite category with your patrons. Join representatives from Amazon Publishing, Harlequin, Penguin Random House, and Thorndike Press for this free, hour-long webinar featuring the best new women’s fiction titles. Moderated by Booklist’s Collection Management and Library Outreach editor and women’s fiction maven, Rebecca Vnuk.

February 24

Linked Data and Libraries: An Overview (Nebraska Library Commission)
Join Robin Hastings, Director of Technology Services for Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), as she goes over the basics of what linked data is, what the potential of linked data can be and how libraries (and other organizations) are using it right now to make information more easily accessible on the web. Learn what the Library of Congress is doing with BIBFRAME and how projects like the Open Library are making use of linked data to extend their reach and make their information reusable.

Twig to Tree: Creativity, STEM, and the Connected School Library (AASL)
In this session, presenters Amanda Waugh and Dr. Mega Subramaniam will share scholarly research in youth development and STEM learning, then translate that research into practical programs that school librarians can integrate into their practice. Participants will learn about how connected learning, health research, and science fiction writing can bolster STEM engagement, the pros and cons of makerspaces, and leveraging fiction reading into STEM engagement.

February 25

Conferences for Wyoming School Librarians (Wyoming State Library)
Professional development is a critical component of any career and school librarianship is no exception. Staying up to date with new ideas and colleagues in our field increases our effectiveness as teacher librarians. Explore with me, Paige Bredenkamp, School Library Consultant at Wyoming State Library, some of the local and national conferences of interest to Wyoming school librarians and staff. We will also look at funding opportunities.

Genealogy Research Using the U.S. Congressional Serial Set (National Archives)
Chief Librarian Jeffery Hartley will discuss the history and contents of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set for family history research. The presentation will include African American genealogy and a demonstration of the digital version of the serial set. Presentation materials are available online.

Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program (VolunteerMatch.org)
What do your volunteers need to know to be successful? This webinar will start with the basics and help you understand how to determine what information you should be sharing with your volunteers, and how that can be used to create a curriculum. We’ll then discuss how to present this information in a variety of ways using different delivery methods that appeal to adult learners. Assessing what your volunteers have learned, and creating ongoing training and professional development training for your volunteers will also be covered.

Engaging Learners With Feedback and Collaborative Learning Environments (Education Week)
In this webinar, we will take a look at recent practices and research on the use of technology, including newer tools such as Skype in the classroom and Minecraft that will support teachers in effective integration of curricula and assessment in classrooms. We will discuss how you can leverage technology to engage your students and develop student-centered curriculum that will ensure they develop their innovation, creativity, and 21st century skills through deep learning. Specifically, we will review how you can use technology to do the following: connect and engage learners; personalize instruction; support student collaboration; and use problem-based learning to drive greater understanding. Content provided by Microsoft.

February 26

The Internet of Things (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
With the expansion of the internet and mobile technologies, almost any device can be automated and accessed remotely. Real-time updates from typical household objects keep us connected when we are not home. Spend an hour with Tine Walczyk, independent library technology consultant with Trainers-R-Us, as she explores what is the current expanse of the IoT and what it means for our future.

Big Talk From Small Libraries (Nebraska Library Commission)
This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better. Each of our speakers is from a small library or directly works with small libraries. Topics range from technology (new tech and old tech) to programming to partnering with your community. Come for the programs on what you’re dealing with now or maybe try something new.

Helping Homeschoolers (Colorado State Library)
Public libraries are a natural resource for homeschooling families: library staff expertise, spaces, collections, and programs are a critical component of effective homeschooling. Engage in this interactive webinar to explore this topic through examples from the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado—a leader in these services—and discussion with colleagues across the country. We’ll look at homeschooling statistics—the ‘why’ of this topic—plus the needs of homeschooling families and how to meet those needs most effectively without duplicating other services available in your community. We’ll also explore how to promote these services to homeschooling families and actively engage them at the library. Come to this free session with your experiences, challenges, questions, and ideas to share.

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